Outrageous Designs For Nomadic Living In A Post-Pandemic World
For years there has been a growing desire from individuals who want to leave everything behind and move away from material possessions. The nomadic lifestyle is a rebellious way of leaving a permanent, expensive living and utilize movable structures that can become temporary homes and communities. The nomadic movement is growing even faster following the release of the award-winning film “Nomadland,” in which a woman embarks on a journey through America, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
With unconventional designs, nomadic architecture incorporates the benefits of urban dwellings with that of a roving lifestyle. New designers create outrageous yet realistic concepts that inspire others to embrace the nomadic lifestyle in an attempt to find meaning and fulfillment in their lives.
“Cities have been isolating and expensive for a long time, but because of their strong economies, they have been hard to leave,” said Colin O’Donnell, the founder of Kibbo. The company blends van life and community with a membership model to create an on-the-road collective of digital nomads across the country. “Now, after a year of quarantine and with the opportunity to work from anywhere, people want to travel and live in beautiful natural locations with a tight-knit community, without giving up their job,” he said.
Many of the most fascinating nomadic designs come from around the world, inspirational architects and designers who foresee a need for future shelter and community. These designs are some of the most outrageous and yet oddly practical.
The Looper by Nomadic Resorts
Nomadic Resorts is a design company that uses an integrated approach to architecture, landscape, and interior design to create sustainable projects that fit organically into their natural surroundings and serve as a bridge to connect nature, culture, and people. The Looper is an eco-suite that can easily be installed in jungles, mountains, deserts, or beaches.
The pre-fabricated pods are made from a lightweight tensile fabric stretched over a modular steel frame, a thick layer of recycled PET (plastic water bottles) insulation, and anti-viral internal liner fabric. The envelope is typically fitted out with sustainable bamboo flooring, porthole windows, and double-glazed facades, providing panoramic views and plenty of natural lights. The caterpillar cocoon-like interior can be equipped with a generous bathroom, an air-conditioned sleeping area, a lounge, a small office space with wifi, and a generous outdoor deck.
Louis Thompson, CEO of Nomadic, explains, “The Looper is the ideal environment for digital nomads in the new normal –combined with the appropriate sustainable technology, it can harness natural energy sources and harvest rainwater to offer an off-grid tiny home without compromising comfort, security or lifestyle.”
Weaving a Home Shelters
Weaving a Home is inspired by Bedouin communities and nomadic tent structures. Acclaimed architect Abeer Seikaly explains, “My mission is to present a new form of shelter that combines innovative structural systems and design processes with traditional knowledge and natural, local building materials – like wool and goat’s hair – and techniques, ones that are intimate and stem from community. To create a structure that is from the earth and adapts to its environment. A dome that is made in and from within Jordan.”
“The double skin structural fabric and its application through a dome enclosure provide a seamless system that pushes the boundary of fabric’s function to withstand harsh environments,” she continues. “Resilient and collapsible, the new material system merges mechanics and design and utilizes various threads that can accommodate different purposes such as storage, sustainable energy, and water. The dome represents a continuity in the evolution of place-making that is not linear but rather circular—rooted in the present, but watered, fed and nurtured by its past.”
Water Bed by Daniel Durnin
This minimalist, floating nomadic structure combines the convenience of a hostel with the mobility of a tent. Users could easily camp on urban rivers as short-term accommodation. The compact Water Bed embraces the outdoors with large operable windows and is set on wheels so that it can be easily towed with a bicycle. “I hope that the work will reawaken our connection with nature using the waterways as a catalyst and restore balance to the more networked living space that we now inhabit, not just in London but across the globe,” says Durnin.
Walking House is a dwelling system that provides for a remote nomadic life, moving slowly through the landscape with little impact on the environment. It collects energy from solar cells and small windmills, with a system for collecting rainwater and a system for solar-heated hot water.
Each unit includes basic systems for maintaining everyday life for a maximum of four persons. An optional greenhouse unit can be added to the basic living module to provide a substantial part of the food needed. A composting toilet system allows sewage produced to be disposed of. A small wood-burning stove could be added to provide CO2-neutral heating. Walking House can be added together to create communities or Walking Villages and is not dependant on roads but moves on all types of terrain.
Futurist Eric Hunting, who has a particular interest in alternative and sustainable architecture, explains his thoughts of nomadic lifestyle. We discussed the future of nomadic shelters and community.
What futuristic nomadic shelter designs have impressed you the most?
“Those that employ modular building systems like Grid Beam (originally Ken Isaacs’ Matrix system, then Box Beam known to eco-tech experimenters) and T-slot framing take cues from ancient designs like the Mongolian Yurt as well as modern designs like the Japanese Capsule Hotel pod, employ fabrication like roadcase/flightcase construction, repurpose industrial/commercial cast-off materials like billboard membrane, and those which facilitate adaptive reuse of found structures and buildings. Also, I’m less interested in the modified vans and busses, which are more common in the US, but do find the so-called ’stealth campers’ based on owner-adapted contractor/cargo trailers and popular among the Prepper community intriguing because of that aspect of repurposing something industrial in origin and keeping the use for habitation somewhat secret, subversive. I’ve particularly liked the work of Winfried Baumann, which explores the more urban and activist aspects of modern nomadism.”
Who are the new nomads? Are they influenced by the pandemic or economy?
“Increasingly, many are economic in basis, with roots in trends that began with the 2008 crash, the runaway gentrification in many cities in the world, the rise of the gig economy, and more generally the rise of a ‘precariat’; a social class chronically suffering from economic uncertainty with the loss of traditional job security and benefits, collapsing retirement assets, and social service safety nets. This is particularly the case in the US and also relates to the rise in popularity of the Tiny House. While there are similarities to the situation of the previously typical economic migrants coming from poorer nations, this is a largely domestic population recently ejected from middle-class status, and children of the middle-class denied the same Post-War ‘middle-class deal’ their parents enjoyed.”
“But, until recently, the trend in neo-nomadism was more typically motivated by what is called Existential Nomadism, a desire for authenticity in life through the experience of a perpetual foreigner, stranger, or traveler, freely sampling the cultures and lifestyles in different places. This was enabled by emerging telecommunications technology as well as Internet-based business services, which facilitated remote work and even entrepreneurship as well as a lean lifestyle, though it has tended to still be limited to creatives and software engineers. Recently, we have seen the emergence of co-work and co-habitation accommodations tailored to this community. One of the key influences of this trend was a series of ’Technomads’ who were computer and communications enthusiasts experimenting with the bleeding edge of mobile telecommunications technology even before the advent of the Internet. Most famous of these was Steven K. Roberts, who, in the 1980s, gained notoriety for his creation of the Winnebiko, a solar-powered recumbent bicycle equipped with solar power, early personal computers, and a vast array of communications gear. He inspired many cycling nomads and has since gone on to further push the edge in this technology with various other vehicles.”
“Relating to this Existential Nomadism, as well as the Maker Movement, is the rise in so-called ‘social entrepreneurs’; young but somewhat accomplished people who have adopted a nomadic lifestyle and the leverage of Internet business services, open-source tech, and new independent production tech, to facilitate serial entrepreneurship as a form of social activism, particularly through micro-ventures in the developing world. Unfortunately, this has also been misappropriated by some children of the wealthy who like to think of themselves as nomadic entrepreneurs and have created a market for what is called ‘luxury co-working centers’ in exotic tourist locations… There has also been a long trend of RV nomadism as a model for retirement based on the appeal of a certain special traveling community of retirees, as exemplified by the Airstream Clubs. Such folk is often referred to as ’snowbirds,’ but this is less about merely dodging the worst of seasonal weather and more about rediscovering community and spreading out one’s retirement years in the periodic proximity of dispersed children who, themselves, lack such freedom of movement thanks to a lack of vacation time.”
“Still nascent but emerging is the trend in urban nomadism as a kind of activism. (which relates to the idea of social entrepreneurship) The term may have first been coined by designer/futurist Ken Isaacs, who, in the 1970s, suggested the future emergence of a seasonally nomadic youth culture based on the repurposing and adaptive reuse of the urban detritus in the wake of the slow collapse of Industrial Age. This was loosely related to his concept of ‘mobilism’; lean living combined with seasonal migration for the sake of lowering one’s fossil-fuel energy footprint. Urban Nomads were suggested to be seasonal migrants for similar reasons but focused on exploiting, like hunter-gatherers, urban areas with their anticipated wealth of abandoned architecture and industrial cast-offs. This was the inspiration for what came to be called Nomadic Furniture, as documented in the book series of that name by James Hennessey and Victor Papanek, inspiring the trend of ‘hippy furniture’ based on recycled industrial cast-offs.”
“The concept was later re-imagined by Futurists and SciFi writers Alex Steffan and Cory Doctorow when they introduced a concept called The Outquisition. Likewise anticipating the collapse of the Industrial Age and its infrastructures under the pressures of Global Warming impacts, they imagined a movement emerging from the ‘cloisters’ of eco-villages, communes, Hackerspaces, and Makerspaces to propagate the technologies of a Post-Industrial culture through intervention in urban areas left in crisis by infrastructure failure and the abandonment of corporate, financial, and state interests. (ie. Flint MI…) And so these nomadic bands of eco-tech McGuyvers would converge on these communities in crisis in the hopes of saving them through the introduction of local resilience technologies; solar and wind energy, the new digital production machines, urban farming, and hydroponics, alternative economics systems, etc. In the wake of the Occupy movement, a number of interventionist groups have emerged to engage in just this sort of intervention, some referring to themselves as Urban Nomads and informing the work of folks like Winfried Baumann. This has also been an influence for the currently emergent Solarpunk aesthetic movement, which seeks to cultivate progressive green futurism.”
Do you envision more remote nomads or more urban connected nomads within a specific community?
“While there are a certain number of neo-nomads looking for isolated refuge in deep immersion with the wilderness (and exploiting policies for long-term stays in national parks), in most cases, there is a practical need for community and the networks of mutual aid and business networking that can potentially afford. However, this is no longer dependent on proximity in the Internet era, and the contemporary nomad tends to be much more virtually interconnected, members of quite vast online communities that are globally dispersed. There have been some efforts to create more physical nexuses of mutual aid with concepts like ‘Nomadbases’; non-profit, communally supported, alternatives to the co-working/co-habitation ‘hotels’ that are emerging today. A colleague Dante-Gabryell Monson, who has spent some time as a nomad, has worked in this area. Now that some businesspeople have woken up to the existence of a nomad market, we are likely to see more kinds of accommodations devised to suit and exploit that.”
Published at Thu, 18 Mar 2021 15:15:10 +0000